Hello Dreamies! I want to talk about something that’s been on my mind recently, and I really hope I get my point across. Last week, March 8th, was International Women’s Day. I feel like that’s kind of strange because we should be celebrating and supporting women everyday. But I’m troubled because I have a daughter in middle school, and the things she comes home confused about reinforces the fact that we can do better. We must do better.
I remember growing up, many girls including myself would talk about how being friends with girls was impossible. Being friends with boys was so much easier and drama free. Insert massive eye roll here. Ya wanna know where that got me? Feeling massively betrayed and/or uncomfortable because I learned later on that they either harbored feelings for me or thought they were going to sleep with me. I’ve learned to cherish the girl friends I have, because those relationships are the ones that will go the distance. This is what we need to teach our daughters, because it starts at home.
It Starts At Home
A few weeks ago, I had a very troubling conversation with my daughter. She came home from school and unloaded her day, as she always does. Then she proceeded to ask me why the kids at school were calling Wonder Woman a slut. Let that sink in for a moment. My first thought is…What?? How do 12 year olds even know what a slut is?? And why is a strong female superhero from a movie with zero sex scenes being slut shamed by middle schoolers? Where are they hearing this language in a time when we are fighting slut shaming, sexual assault and for gender equality? I try to think back to all the movies I’ve watched recently and all the movies I’ve let my kids watch recently and nothing vulgar comes to mind. Which leads me to the very sad conclusion that this is starting at home. There are adults, older than me because I had my daughter younger than the average parent, using this dated and humiliating hate speech. Teaching kids to judge a strong woman on her superhero costume. That sounds insane to me.
I was raised in a house of mostly women. My poor father was the only male, even the dogs we had were female lol! We were raised to be strong women, and to know that men are assholes. Sounds harsh right? If you think about it, it’s really not because up until recently men weren’t being held accountable. My mother wanted to make sure we weren’t surprised when Prince Charming didn’t show up lol. That we weren’t surprised when men in the real world weren’t like our own father who sent my mother roses for special occasions and doted on her as much as she would allow. We were never taught to pit woman against woman, or that women were objects to be ogled and objectified. And if something like that happened to one of us, well my mother was right there fighting for us.
We Need to Fight For, Not Against Each Other
Out in the world today, we need to be standing up for each other. We need to do what’s right by each other. If another woman is being objectified, if she’s in danger we need to step up and say something. We need to help each other out. We need to stop hurting each other. To stop blaming the victim for what they wear, or what they don’t know. If you see a man being a jerk, and you know he’s hurting someone directly or indirectly, you need to stand up. Don’t soak it up because you feel good and she’s stupid for not knowing what’s happening behind her back. Stop sleeping with your best friends partner or ex. We can’t look the other way while another woman is sexually harassed at work. Be better. We are powerful, we create life and we are worth more than the shape of our bodies. And when we join in slut shaming our sisters and not speaking up for them, we are no better than those who see us as a commodity. We can do better.
I can talk all day long about how we need to raise our sons better, and we do. But we also need to do better by our daughters, our sisters, our girl friends. When a 12-year-old girl trusts a boy enough to send him naked pictures because her parents didn’t talk to her about these things, and we blame her when he sends her pictures to half the school, well we have a problem here. We need to be talking to our children about the language they hear and use when they are out in the world, because it’s a direct reflection of their family. I had to talk to my own daughter about victim blaming, because her initial reaction was to blame this poor girl. She’s 12, how is she supposed to know any better if she’s not taught better? We need to show each other respect, because actions speak louder than words.
Take One and Pass it on
I can talk until I’m blue in the face on this topic. It makes me very uncomfortable, because I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot things I described above. Just because I have breasts, I’m loyal, or I’m trusting. It chills me to my core to think of my daughters experiencing the pain and humiliation I have felt. I’m writing this post in hopes it reaches a few, that they take something from this and pass it on. That they show a kindness they might not have shown the day before. Because we are better than gossip and girl fights. We deserve more than backstabbing and slut shaming. We deserve more, and we can do better.